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After watching profits per partner sink 4.3 percent in 2008 and revive only 0.3 percent in 2009, Am Law 100 firms finally posted a healthy increase–8.4 percent–in 2010. But much of that gain is attributable to firms’ aggressive cost-control measures, especially in the area of headcount, which dropped 2.7 percent over 2009. As a result, growth in revenue per lawyer–the most reliable measure of the overall financial health of law firms–was more tepid, 4.4 percent.

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